The Zabel Homestead

           The setting for Prairie Dog Cowboy does really exist, just not as the Hyman Ranch or the Roberts homestead.

          The “Roberts” homestead, in the story, is set on some of the land homesteaded by the ancestors of Robert Zabel, although the Gotlib Robert and August Zabel families, along with August’s brother Jonathan, didn’t homestead until after the time Prairie Dog Cowboy began. In fact, Gotlieb Robert filed his claim of a quarter of land November 18, 1909. His daughter Wilhemina and her husband August Zabel filed the same year, as did Jonathan Zabel.

            Taking liberties with time, the author set Jacob Roberts’ homestead on part of the land where Robert Zabel was born and raised many years after Buddy worked his father’s farm.  

            She also used the name Roberts, not Robert as was the name of her husband’s great-grandfather and great-grandmother, Caroline Job Robert. Caroline became upset when others called their last name Roberts. She would say, “Our name is Robert, not Roberts.”

           Part of the original homestead is owned and farmed by Robert's cousin George Loren Zabel. The location of the "Roberts" farm in Prairie Dog Cowboy is currently owned by Robert's older brother Albert.